Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Quick Trip Through the Air Force Museum

I had a little bit of time between the aerial demonstrations, so I decided to take a quick trip through the Museum itself.  I think it took me a half hour tops.  If you've never been there before, I would not recommend a trip that quick. 
 The C-141 Starlifter in the little air park they have out in front.  If I remember correctly, they are working on a new wing for the Museum and will be bringing these planes inside.  While I enjoy the picture taking opportunities outside, I think the planes will be better off inside.
 This is an F-15 Eagle but a special variant of it.  It used to be one called the Streak Eagle and was a stripped down version designed to break speed and altitude records.  It did pretty well too, I think.  They have it in normal F-15 regalia.
 The P-61 Black Widow was a radar equipped plane and was used as a night fighter in the later part of World War II.  It was pretty effective in its job.
 Bocks Car was the B-29 that dropped the second atomic bomb over Nagasaki.  The bomb was called "Fat Man" and was a plutonium implosion device.  It was the more complicated of the two atomic bombs.
 A PBY Catalina.  The Navy used these for just about everything.  The Air Force used them for search and rescue.
 A Focke Wulfe 190 used by the German Air Force in World War II.  It was a pretty good aircraft but I don't think it was as good as the P-51.
 The Messerschmitt 262 jet airplane.  This was the first operational jet in the world.  It probably would have been a difference maker in the war had it been produced earlier in the and had Hitler not insisted it be used as a fighter bomber.  Because of the scarcity of some materials, Germany had difficulty making steel that could withstand higher temperatures.  Because of that, German pilots had to be careful accelerating this plane.  That made it vulnerable in take off and landing.
 The P-51 Mustang was known as the Cadillac of the Skies.  The Engine was a British design but built by Americans.  It was certainly one of the better fighters of the war.
 The B-17 Flying Fortress.  This was probably the most famous bomber in the war. 
 The P-47 Thunderbolt.  This was used as a fighter but it was more effective as a fighter bomber.  It could take a great amount of punishment.
 The P-38 Lightning.  This was a pretty cool fighter but was more useful in the Pacific.
 The B-24 Bomber.  Almost 10,000 of these were built in Ypsilanti.
 The P-40 Warhawk.  This plane was probably one of the more famous because it was used by the Flying Tigers in China.  It was a capable fighter but found itself outmatched by the Japanese Zero.  As American pilots adapted their techniques with this plane, it became deadly.
 The B-52 Stratofortress.  Sometimes known as BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Feller), the design first flew in 1952 and a version is still flying today.  It is expected that some of these may be flying in the 2050's.  I think there are stories of people who fly the same aircraft that their dad flew.  I'm not sure if it's gone to three generations yet (but could).
 The P-80 Shooting Star was one of the earlier American jet fighters.  Had it been developed a little sooner, it might have seen action against the Me-262.  I think it would have come out on top in that case.
 The F-84 Sabre Jet.  While not as capable as the MiG-15, it triumphed over them because many of the American pilots still had experience from World War II.
 The F-101 Voodoo.  This was a multipurpose plane used in Vietnam.
 The Jolly Green Giant Helicopter.
 The Huey.  It's kind of hard to mention Vietnam without one of these.
 A MiG-21 Fishbed.  This was a pretty capable plane and probably could have given us fits in the right hands.
 The F-4 Phantom.
 An A-7 Corsair II. 
 A F-105 Thunderchief.  This particular model is acting in the Wild Weasel role.  The Wild Weasel planes would go seek out SAM and radar sites to take them out.  They were very effective in this role but it was a pretty dangerous job.
 The F-22 Lightning II.  This plane has been in development for 20 years.  Apparently, it is seeing its first combat action over Syria and is pretty effective there.
 The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.  This is a very capable aircraft but I will doubt it will have the lifespan of the B-52.
 The B-1 Bomber.  This is another aircraft that had a troubled development but has matured into a pretty capable bomber.
 The MiG-29 Fulcrum.  This represents on of the Soviet planes where they managed to catch up to the likes of the F-15 and F-16.
 The Tornado.  This plane was developed by the French, Germans and British.  It is a very capable plane.
 And F-4 Phantom in the Wild Weasel Role.  This version saw used during Desert Storm and was retired shortly after that.
 Another F-15.
 The SR-71.  This was the fastest plane ever built.  Even though it has been retired, it's top speed remains classified.
 An example of a hydrogen bomb.
 Back to the C-141.
 A C-130 Hercules.
I believe this plane is a Grumman Albatross.

I will have to say that it was a pretty cool day today.  I should have skipped Fostoria but oh well, the thought of fog shrouded trains was too much to pass up.


cmadler said...

SR-71 is not only the fastest plane ever built, it has by far the most bad-ass appearance.

Also, apparently the PBY Catalina continued in military use until 1982 -- Brazil used them to supply posts along the Amazon river that were otherwise only accessible by helicopter -- and they're still in use today for firefighting operations.

cmadler said...

Also speaking of the SR-71, read this first-hand account from a test pilot who had an SR-71 literally disintegrate around him at Mach 3.2 and walked away with "a few bruises and minor whiplash".